Tea party candidates tweet more frequently than Democrats and even their generic Republican rivals.
That’s the finding of a study out of the University of Michigan, which surveyed 460,000 tweets over a three-year period from 687 candidates running for U.S. House, Senate and governor.
Over the study period, tea party candidates tweeted an average of 901 times compared to 723 times for Republicans and 551 for Democrats.
“The conservative candidates—Republicans and Tea Party members—definitely used Twitter more visibly and showed a more coherent set of messages and topics,” said Eytan Adar, assistant professor in the School of Information and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “They also followed each other much more closely. I think it’s fair to say they were much more cohesive in a lot of ways and at the end of the day that makes for a stronger campaign.”
The study found that not only did tea party members tweet more often, but they retweeted each other and used hashtags more frequently.
We utilize graph and text mining techniques to analyze differences between Democrats, Republicans and Tea Party candidates, and suggest a novel use of language modeling for estimating content cohesiveness. Our findings show significant differences in the usage patterns of social media, and suggest conservative candidates used this medium more effectively, conveying a coherent message and maintaining a dense graph of connections. Despite the lack of party leadership, we find Tea Party members display both structural and language-based cohesiveness.